WABI SABI Workshop: Imperfections and the Art of Letting Go at Eikcam Ceramics

Form to Feast: time to eat!

Embrace life as is…

I can see flaws and imperfections

I can see them so clearly..

Not expecting perfections

Not trying to be perfect

Be grateful, courageous and compassionate

Give Love and Kindness

To be the best I can be

And more than what I am (OO – the unknown Golden Apron)

I attended a three weekend”Form to Feast” free hand building pottery workshop, learning from the lovely Grace Lee (Eikcam Ceramics), a local artist whom I’ve long admired and collected a few pieces of her work; it was a dream come true.

I have dabbled into pottery on and off for a few years now;  the series of classes I’ve taken were taught by the fascinating Maggie Boyd at local Vancouver Community Centres (through Parks Board, she now teaches at her studio and very well established in the local art community).

Making my own pottery was a natural progression; the concept of serving my food on my own earthenware is a more complete form of self-expression, and to share them with my family and friends, is my full expression of my love for them.

The theme is Wabi Sabi , a Japanese aesthetic centred on beauty of imperfection. Ha Interesting and foreign concept to someone like me, who at times (many times my sister would say) could be so “fixed” in my ways.

The first Saturday was spent “kneading” the clay and shaping our pieces; due to time constraints the clay was well already prepared ahead of time so we actually dived into the creative process swiftly; the second week when we returned Grace already had all our pieces fired up and ready for glazing; and the final class, we just returned to pick up our pieces and enjoyed a Korean Bossam (Pork Belly) feast prepared by our teacher, and shared with our fellow classmates (from two sessions), served on our own creations.

The class took place in Grace’s tranquil studio (love your space) in East Vancouver (Venables area). The class  consisted of a small group of creative and accomplished individuals (many entrepreneurs), these days instead of exchanging business cards, phones came out swiftly and Instagram handles were exchanged and now we are connected!

The class was very informal and free-flowing: Grace gave us the instructions, then leave us to work freely and provided us with guidance when required.  She was very encouraging and readily answer our questions.

The sessions were filled with lots of carefree exchanges and laughter; the atmosphere was so relaxing and certainly sparked lots of creativity, I truly enjoyed every moment.

On the last Saturday when I got to the studio and saw my finished pieces, I was elated;  the sense of fulfillment and excitement were beyond words can express.  They are so different from what I’ve always liked ….yet I like them so much…

Perhaps somehow over the course of time my perspective has changed, and through this experience I was able to see it more clearly.

Precious memories: centerpiece from 2016 Dinner Party YVR and my Wabi Sabi plate

The little verse I wrote  pretty much sums up what I have learnt and how I feel…

Perfection and Imperfections….as in life, a work in progress.

If you are ever interested in trying out pottery, Grace’s short-term workshops are wonderful options, check the future schedules through her website.

Grace, thank you very much again for your guidance and encouragement; I am so grateful to have the opportunity to attend your workshop, see you again very soon…감사합니다.


















Hello…Every day is a Good Journey

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Hello and how are you doing?  After a two month hiatus,  back to my regular schedule!!

Want to know what have I been up to the past two months?  On Wednesday June 22nd, 2016  I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on Fairchild Radio 1470 at 10:30am sharp!  Here’s an outline for the program (subject to change and not in particular order)!

If you have any feedback or recommendations, I would love to hear from you!  Drop me a line anytime at goldenapron@gmail.com (OO)


Father’s Day menu: Oven roasted sablefish with mushroom “jus”, sea asparagus, nori and green onion, steamed broccoli and roasted brussel sprouts, sister in law’s potato salad, deep fried pork cutlet “cubes” with spicy sweet and sour tomato sauce (think outside of the box), Fresh shrimp and garlic stem ‘scramble”, and a side of healthy wild rice blend.

Happy Father’s Day!

Recipe: Sake Kasu and Miso  Sablefish (black cod):  (See other posting for recipe)

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Homemade: Oven roasted Sable fish with shiitake/shimeji “jus” , bok choy, sea asparagus, nori and green onion

My sources: Seafood City (Granville Island), Fujiya (Clark Drive, Vancouver), Vancouver Island Salt Company…

Check out Betty King Sauce (www.bettykingsauce.com) if you want a spicy kick for any dishes!

The return of sushi bars to Vancouver: Sushi Maumi (1226 Bute Street (and Davie)

For nigiri sushi lovers only; a small 10-seat restaurant, reservations required (three sittings 6 , 730 and 9), fresh fish from Japan and I love their anago tempura!




Rustic Italian Fare: Osteria Salvio Volpe  (Fraser and Kingsway)

Rustic Italian food focus on family style dining, fresh pasta and meats cooked in wood fire grill, love their roast chicken! Simple rustic tasty foods, friendly service and great atmosphere. Reservations recommended.


Morel mushroom Linguine – Mangia!



Bingsoo time! We love desserts in Vancouver: Snowy Village (two locations; Robson Street in Vancouver and Alexandra Road in Richmond)

My hubby loves their bingsoos and we have been back four times already…




June 24th, 2015 Radio Show

IMG_8884 How’s your summer so far? I will be on Ms. Deborah Moore’s radio show on AM 1470 Fairchild Radio this morning at 10:30am Sharp! Below is the outline for today’s segment; content is subject to change according to Ms. Moore and flow of program; I look forward to chatting with her about food and everything else (OO)  Thank you for tuning in!

TKC Gourmet Kitchen: Three weeks ago I had my first formal Japanese cooking lesson (I’ve always learnt  through cookbooks, my Japanese friends or my Mother-in-law)! Our instructor, Mr. Hasegawa taught us how to make a teriyaki sauce which we can use as a base and transform into different dishes:  Chicken Teriyaki, Sukiyaki, Saba Nitsuke, Japanese style Roast Beef.  Have you ever had vanilla ice cream with teriyaki sauce? It was absolutely delish! Hasegawa-sensei, thank you very much, I had the best time!  Look forward to joining another class in the near future! It was a very educational 2 hour demonstration class followed by sampling of the dishes at Guu Otokomae (in Gastown, Vancouver, BC).  English and Japanese classes are available, check their Page on Facebook for schedule.   IMG_7490

TKC Gourmet Kitchen: Our lunch prepared by Hasegawa-sensei

Here’s the basic recipe for teriyaki sauce, courtesy of Mr. Hasegawa, TKC Gourmet Kitchen:

Soy sauce 400 ml + 100 ml (add in the end as finishing touch)

Sake 500 ml (Drinking sake, for example Gekkeikan)

Mirin 500 ml

Sugar 150 g (you can adjust the amount to adjust the level of sweetness)

Water 200 ml

Garlic 2 cloves (thinly sliced)

Ginger 5 grams (thinly sliced)

Onion (about 200 g, half or one small onion), skin on)

green onion (1 bunch – green part only)

Carrot (about 50 g, half piece)

Kelp (about 5 g)

– In medium size pot,  rehydrate kelp in 200 ml of water at least for 10 minutes

– Add all the ingredients (except 100 ml of soy sauce) into the pot

– Using high heat, bring sauce to a boil

– Reduce heat to low setting (make sure there’s no “bubbling” action) and cook sauce for another 30 minutes

– Add remaining 100 ml soy sauce to finish the sauce, turn off heat

– Strain the sauce, let it cool down completely before storing in refrigerator (*store in clean glass container up to 1 month)

Father’s Day Dinner: Fresh Seafood from Seafood City, Granville Island – Vancouver, BC Last weekend I had the best time shopping at the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market and Granville Island, searching for ingredients and new ideas for Father’s Day Dinner.  I went to Seafood City to buy the mackerel to prepare the “Saba Nitsuke” dish which I learned earlier from Hasegawa-sensei at #TKC Gourmet Kitchen.  While I was standing in front of the counter waiting for my mackerel, these beauties “stared” at me.. I simply could not resist but purchase one of them and got the most helpful cooking tips from one of their staff, William (a million thanks!).  Service is always great as they are all very passionate about food: http://www.seafoodcitygi.com 

“Itoyori” Threadfin Bream from Japan – I couldn’t help myself and made the purchase.

Using the basic teriyaki sauce, I prepared the “Saba Nitsuke”, a traditional Japanese fish dish, stewed in ginger and sauce;  will be posting the recipe shortly!

Father’s Day Dinner: My version of Saba Nitsuke

And here’s a picture of our family dinner: I’ve also prepared my duck breast dish; I changed things up a bit with the saucing (check out my recipe published in September 2014); eggplant “pickled” in shiso plum dressing, Asian green salad with simple lemon olive oil dressing, mixed rice (Japanese/brown/Black Gaba) and the beautiful tender broiled bream fish.  Recipes coming soon! IMG_7461 Got room for ice cream? Check out Rain or Shine, new location on Cambie (Original location on West 4th near Burrard) http://www.rainorshineicecream.comIMG_7483 Anytime for good reads? Marie Kondo: The life changing magic of tidying up The enlightened kitchen: Vegetarian dishes Harumi Kurihara’s cookbook: Chinese version




Two weeks ago,  my #Ask of Luigi #brunch photo entry won the picture of the week!  I’ve won a $25.00 gift certificate from Ask for Luigi restaurant in Railtown; it’s fun to participate in these interactive contests through Instagram:IMG_7094

 I love Vancouver! Lots of events this summer and I will be back as market host at the Trout Lake market next month.






Rouxbe..Learn how to cook in the comfort of your own home



Ever heard of “Rouxbe” (https://rouxbe.com/)?? If you are a time or location challenged enthusiastic home chef who enjoys cooking classes, this maybe a solution for you.

It is a members only (fees applicable), instructor-led on-line cooking school, offering instructor-guided certification courses for cooks at all levels, serving both home and professional cooks worldwide. I was first introduced to this website through Northwest Culinary and became a member in 2012.   It  was established in 2005 and apparently it is being used as a supplementary tool at partnered culinary schools.

Their high quality instructional videos provide broken down, concise step-by-step instructions which allow the user to learn, skip back and re-watch any details you may need at any time, at the comfort of your own home.  All courses can be taken on demand at your own pace: There are longer term cooking courses, and short individual subject-matter focused cooking classes.  It tracks your progress and there are actual quizzes to review your knowledge!

Currently I’m enrolled in two cooking courses (maximum 3 at a time); The Cook’s Roadmap (Level 1) and Food Safety course; I have set aside time each week to study on my own. I also use this website as a reference very often; there are separate sections on recipes (video or text only, Rouxbe tested or community submitted), cooking tips/techniques and discussion forum which I find very resourceful.  It has added on so much to my existing knowledge as a home chef; I do believe learning the techniques behind each recipe is the most effective way to learn how to cook.

Presently this is working out very well with my schedule; besides it is getting quite cold here in #Vancouver, I’m quite content to stay warm and cosy and learn in the comfort of my own home.  


Summer Tarts Baking Class @ Northwest Culinary Academy Vancouver (NWCAV)

Summer Tarts July 2013: Lemon Meringue Tart, Creme D’Amande Paste, Rhubarb Creme Brûlée, Cherry Clafouti Tart. Can you guess which is my favourite?

Since childhood I have always been more interested in savoury foods than desserts.  Unlike my sister, who just cannot live without desserts (especially macarons), I really don’t have a sweet tooth..Over the years I can count the number of times I have made dessert for any occasion with both hands!  I DO enjoy certain desserts, anything with dark chocolate is my “vice”. I only need a very “small bite” to feel satiated (I secretly wish all desserts come in “child size”);  it is my own “dim sum” – just a “little to touch my heart”.

Andy loves lemon tarts and apple pies and I’ve only baked a few on special occasions.  When Northwest Culinary offered (http://www.nwcav.com/this one night 3 hour short course;  it was a perfect opportunity for me to learn something new  and add a couple of desserts to my repertoire.  Venturing into unfamiliar territory, I went with my friend Jo Jo, who is a very talented and accomplished baker  (https://www.facebook.com/MyJollySweets). Earlier this year in April, we attended a one day-Artisanal Bread Baking Class at Pacific Culinary Institute (http://www.picachef.com/) and had tons of fun together!

Unlike the other NWCAV classes, my classmates were 99% females and there was only one male student in this class!  We worked in groups of four (I had great teammates, all experienced bakers!), same as before, recipe handouts were given and  the class was broken down into segments  switching between Chef’s lecture/demonstration and hands on cooking/preparation at our workstations.

Ingredients prepared ahead of time of us; the baking stations are located at the back of this one-floor culinary school.
Tart shells ready fresh baked from the oven! Each student has their own “name tag” to avoid confusion.

Due to time constraints, the dough (Sweet Paste is used for baked base for tarts and widely used in European style Pastries) was prepared for us ahead of time.  Chef Christophe showed us how to roll the dough (we practiced!!) and provided us with many useful baking tips and technical information (blind bake, ratios, decorating); we prepared the tart shells and made fillings for Four different types of tarts: Rhubarb Creme Brûlée, Creme D’Amande (almond) Paste (decorated with in-season berries), Lemon Tart with french styled meringue, and Cherry Clafouti Tarte.  At the end of the evening, we brought the goodies home; Andy “inhaled” the lemon meringue tart quickly, and I brought the rest to work and shared with my colleagues the next day.

We had a Surprise (yes another one, remember power outage during halibut cooking class? (see earlier posting)) that evening…Chef Nina Hemmes was unable to teach due to last minute emergency; we were all truly grateful that Chef Christophe stepped in and the school did not cancel the class. I have taken his classes before, French Bistro Classic (2012), Stocks and Sauces (2012) and Poultry Butchery (2011), all of which I’ve enjoyed tremendously.

The school has graciously granted permission to post the lemon meringue tart recipe on my blog. Thank you NWCAV and Chef Christophe for another fun filled and informative evening!  Jo Jo, can’t wait to go to another class with you sometime!

Am I still clueless about baking?  Of course, after all this is only one class but I’m not afraid to try different baking recipes to hone my skills!  Just like all enthusiastic home cooks, I constantly look for new ideas and I know eventually all acquired skills and techniques come handy sometime when tackling any new recipes.   With the bountiful fruit harvests in early Fall (apples, plums),  I am sure I will be able to test and “adapt” the new recipes perhaps at the next family dinner.  I was just cleaning my pantry the other day, taking inventory and dug out all my baking supplies…My pink KitchenAid Mixer has been a “fixture” on the shelf for the past three years…perhaps it’s time….(OO)

Halibut Cooking Class @ Northwest Culinary Academy Vancouver (NWCAV)

Gravalax with Spring Herb Aioli - Chef Curtis prepared in advance for class, we prepared the aioli, pickled red onions and plated the dish.  We learn't the curing process and each took home a piece for next day's enjoyment.
Gravalax with Spring Herb Aioli – Chef Curtis prepared in advance for class, we prepared the aioli, pickled red onions and plated the dish. Chef taught us the curing process and we each took home a piece for next day’s enjoyment.

At last a Fish Course is being offered at Northwest Culinary Academy Vancouver (http://www.nwcav.com/)!  Halibut has always been somewhat a mystery to me; I usually order it when dining out…at home, we eat a lot of salmon and black cod, mainly prepared in Asian styles (sashimi, soups, steamed or oven baked); this was an excellent chance to get out of my own comfort zone.

Nestled between E.12th and E.11th Avenue on west side of Main Street, NWCAV is not noticeable unless you walk by or live in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood; or if you are like me, an attentive passenger riding shotgun, I always look out of the window checking for food stores and restaurants; this is how I found this school four years ago, follow-up with a search through the internet (how did we ever get along before the web???).

This is my fourth time returning to this school;  these amateur classes are designed for passionate home cooks who make time out of their schedules to pursue their culinary interest; it is also a great way to meet fellow aspiring “food-geeks” to share an informative and fun-filled evening.  Going back into this classroom I had butterflies in my stomach, a hint of nervousness mixed with the excitement of anticipation: the idea of tackling a new and unfamiliar ingredient, learning from a new instructor, and partnering with “seasoned” classmates who are mostly returning students, many of whom have completed the famous intensive Serious Foodie course.

Grilled Halibut Steak with Organic Vegetable (Asparagus, Beets, Corn, Fava and Sprouts) - Chef's version as ours were "to go"
Grilled Halibut Steak with Organic Vegetable (Asparagus, Beets, Corn, Fava and Sprouts) – Chef’s version as ours were “to go” as we were so full by the end of the night..

Chef Curtis Webb, one of the full time instructors, included three recipes which showcased “in-season” ingredients and different cooking methods: Halibut gravalax (cured with sugar and salt and spices) with spring herbed aioli; Seared Halibut Cheeks with Seasonal Vegetable Puree and Grilled Halibut Steak with Organic Vegetable Saute.

Fresh Halibut!  Chef Curtis demonstrated how to cut up the fish: Tail for Gravelax, Filet Steak for Grilling, bones for making stock, nothing goes to waste!
Fresh Halibut (season: Mid-March to Mid-November)! Chef Curtis demonstrated how to cut up the fish: Tail for Gravalax, Steak for Grilling, bones for making stock, nothing goes to waste!

There were 9 of us in the class, split into groups of threes (and chores divided amongst ourselves) and worked along side the school’s professional program students (one assigned to each group – Thank you Matt!) who assisted with the preparation, cooking, cleaning (yay!) and providing us with helpful tips and a “glimpse” of their lives as culinary students.

Whisking away: making aioli
My team mate whisking away: making aioli (egg yolk, dijon mustard, vegetable oil, chopped cilantro leaves and lime juice)

I like their teaching approach: the class is broken down into segments  switching between Chef’s lecture/demonstration and  hands on cooking/preparation at our work stations,  chores and order of preparation are listed and explained – this teaches us how to plan and be organized; and in between, we sat down and enjoyed the fruits of labour with wines pre-selected for the evening. Besides the recipes (handouts were given), we also learned many useful tips on knifing skills, food and kitchen safety, plating, preparation, utilizing all ingredients (limiting food waste)..this is “REAL COOKING”…

We had a “surprise” that evening:  At round 08:30pm the power went out in the Main/Cambie area; Chef Curtis gave us an in-depth cooking theory class at the reception area (where there was light) so we could finish the dishes at home, the student assistants packed and portioned all our ingredients; and we were advised perhaps to return another night to complete the course. Just as we were about to leave an hour later, the power came back on and we had an extended class, finishing at 11pm!  The assistants were all great sports, unpacking our foods and set up the stations, and the next day we received a very nice follow-up email from Chef Curtis (http://vancouvercateringcompany.com/), I asked for permission to share his halibut cheek recipe (different posting), and he agreed without any hesitation (Thank you Chef!!).

I have been asked by many if I ever cook any of the recipes I’ve learned in classes?  Perhaps not everything…I do cook and share my favourites with family and friends! Will I continue to take classes?  DEFINITELY whenever time permits and program is suitable…It is a lot of fun and I enjoy every moment of it…even amidst chaos and confusion..haha…

Me at the stove preparing the red onion pickle (sliced red onions sweated, deglazed with vinegar and sugar, reduced to syrup consistence, cool down to room temperature for later use.
Me at the stove preparing the red onion pickle (sliced red onions sweated, deglazed with vinegar and sugar, reduced to syrup consistence, cool down to room temperature for later use.

Can’t wait to try one of the recipes for this Sunday Father’s Day Dinner…which one will it be????


Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver: http://www.nwcav.com

My comments: Environment is professional, friendly, clean and well equipped; different instructors for each amateur program/series, fees and duration of classes vary.  Tools to Bring: Chef’s knife, paring knife, apron (new students will get one from school), wear flat non-slip and non-scuff shoes.  Parking: Mostly metered (on Main Street), free parking might be available in the neighbourhood (as always, I found parking on East 11th Avenue just around the corner!)